First A320 assembled in China performs maiden flight
The first A320 assembled outside Europe in the Airbus Final Assembly Line China (FALC) successfully completed its first flight today. The aircraft took off from Tianjin International Airport at 10:42 am and landed at 14:56.
The four hour and fourteen minute test flight was jointly captained by Harry Nelson, Vice President Production Flight Tests and by Experimental Test Pilot Philippe Pellerin. The other crew members were Senior Vice President Flight & Integration Tests Fernando Alonso and Zidan Ren, the first Chinese Flight Test Engineer trained by Airbus as well as Cabin Engineer Eric Garcia.
This first aircraft will be delivered to Dragon Aviation Leasing in June from the Airbus Delivery Centre in Tianjin and will be operated by Sichuan Airlines. Chinese customers have ordered more than 700 aircraft from Airbus, the majority of which are from the A320 Family. Eleven A319/A320 aircraft are scheduled for delivery in Tianjin in 2009 and the FALC production rate will be ramped up to four aircraft per month by the end of 2011.
The A320 FALC is a joint-venture between Airbus and a Chinese consortium comprising Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC). Airbus China holds 51 per cent of the shares, while the Chinese Consortium holds 49 per cent. The FALC in Tianjin is based on the latest state-of-the-art Airbus single-aisle Final Assembly Line in Hamburg, Germany. FALC started work in August 2008.